The theme of Chapter 2, foreshadowed in Chapter 1, was that the rulers of England, faced with a series of crises, dangerously uncontrolled monarchs, bitter religious differences and powerful overseas enemies, had to construct authority out of consent. Sovereign authority – that of the Stuart monarchy – and colliding certainties – those of the Protestant sects that proliferated during the civil war period – were what had brought them to the brink of disaster, courting political disintegration and tyranny or possible foreign conquest, both last of which might have amounted to the same outcome. Civility, politeness and agreeable disagreement, I suggested, provided for some time a way out of the crisis. This, to a degree broke down less than a century later. Then, for more than a century the Benthamite, pedigree-view of law as merely the will of the sovereign rather than the bearer of a content, gained a great deal of persuasive power, in my argument. This was what literary theorists might term a shift to the authorial text, where meaning is restricted to what the writer intended (or what someone authorized declares the author to have intended). The alternative is a readerly text, where meaning is importantly connected with the context of its reception – the time, the place, the reader, etc. In 1763, the Seven Years’ War produced global power for a Britain about to encounter class and eventually gender challenges within. It was the “Annus Mirabilis” of 1759, with victories seemingly everywhere, that, whatever the inclinations of Prime Minister Lord Chatham, persuaded his successors of British invincibility, convincing them soon after that they could not only crush the American rebellion in the 1770s, but simultaneously sustain a conflict with almost all of Europe. The lack of success here was, unfortunately, insufficient to discredit the authoritarian tendencies in government.